by Paige DeLacey
It’s all well and good to read about people who can choose to work or not, or work part-time or from home because they probably have a spouse or partner that makes enough money to support the family. But, it’s a whole different ballgame when you have to work full-time and your employer offers little formal flexibility. That’s the reality for many working women that contribute half (or more) of the family income, are single moms, or women who are the breadwinner.
If you are managing it all with confidence and grace, our hats are off to you. But if you are barely hanging on by your fingernails, you may want to consider these tricks of the trade I’ve gathered over the years full-time working moms.
• Try to put yourself in a job that you can easily manage. That may sound contrary to your desire to advance your career, and not always possible. But while your kids are very young or if you are planning to have more kids soon, it's always good to be able to exceed your boss’s expectations. Even at the risk of being bored.
• Take your vacation time in small doses. Many women talk about barely being able to cross the finish line on Fridays and then recovering all weekend. If you can, try to take 2 mid-week vacation (or dare I even suggest sick days) per month. It will give YOU time to reconnect with your life and recharge.
• Go in a little late and leave early as much as possible. The advantage to being a salaried employee is that you are NOT paid by the hour. Dropping your child off at day care or school and getting in by 9:15 some days will give you special time in the morning. You may feel (and it may be real) that people notice, but until someone tells you it’s not ok…it’s ok.
• Take time off between jobs. Many of us believe that we must go from one job to the next with maybe a week in between. If you are leaving a company then your start date is primarily within YOUR control. Give yourself at least 2 weeks to clear your mind and get ready for your new job. If you are moving to a new job within your company and have the vacation time to spare, use it. Starting something new requires a high level of motivation, so let yourself recharge.
Working full time with kids for the long term is a marathon not a sprint. But just like running, making sure you refuel and pace yourself can go a long way to making sure you can keep up your performance as a working mother.